UArizona engineers work to develop health device unlike any other

A new health device was created by engineers at the University of Arizona and it could mean huge improvements in the treatment of diseases, testing of new drugs and the ability to track personal health.

The technology is custom-made to fit an individual person and is designed to be better at tracking data than a smartwatch, like Apple Watches or Fitbits.

The device is known as a "biosymbiotic device." Engineers say it's the only one of its kind out there.

It's the future of health, they say.

How's it made? It's 3D-printed based on a body scan to fit the specific person wearing it.

UArizona newly developed "biosymbiotic device"

UArizona newly developed "biosymbiotic device"

"You forget that it is there and that is kind of the goal – to make sure it is invisible, but it delivers high-quality information we need," explained Dr. Philip Gutruf, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UArizona.

The idea started when UArizona engineers set out to create a device more reliable than a smartwatch to monitor health metrics.

Their device is more sensitive and precise.

"We can get a thermal signature, we can also record muscle deformation," engineers explained. "We have the capability to extract fluid from your skin when you are sweating and analyze that."

The technology is powered by wireless power transfer and compact energy storage, meaning the person wearing it doesn’t even need to plug it in.

With it, the user can measure the onset of frailty in older adults, deadly diseases and track the performance of elite athletes.

"We would really like to see devices like this become the norm for diagnoses and for treatment management," an engineer said.

The goal is to have these metrics appear on a smartphone app, making health care unique to each person and accessible for all.

As of Nov. 1, they are conducting clinical trials.

In the next couple of years, they plan to roll this out to elite athletes for monitoring.

They are still working to determine how much something like this will cost when it's widely available.

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